Honey and whiskey, demanding outdoor coasts, love, and time… and we have our first poet from California, whom I’m delighted to welcome. There are more coming from America next week.
This weekend’s poets are Richie McCaffery, Alison Brackenbury, Raquel Reyes-Lopez, Knotbrook Taylor, and Peter Cowlam.
Previously published poems are welcomed for this rolling anthology. How to send, see the first post in August.
I don’t know how I came to be here,
stuck in this Edwardian seaside hotel.
Day drones into night like a bourdon.
But there’s always another flute
of shipwreck champagne
to tickle your throat.
I say I want to go out
and take in the air,
the ozone will be good for me.
They say You mustn’t,
the promenade’s not safe,
the waves could sweep you away.
By evening, I hear folkloric blethers
of those who got beyond the dirty sands
and the dark headland
to find coves with crumbling hotels
like stranded clippers
widowed by the sea.
First published in Stand Magazine, Volume 11(1), 2012
It is too beautiful to eat.
Knife crumbles it from gold to dark.
Our keenest edge cannot stay sharp
in our walls, which seemed so strong,
damp murmurs with the evening sleet.
I wonder if I live too long
but then I taste the honeycomb,
its waxen white upon my teeth,
its liquid sun which hides beneath.
Small deities, of wind or moon,
behold me. In my shabby room
I am a god. I lick the spoon.
First published in ‘Poems in the Waiting Room’ pamphlet, 2011
Jack Daniel’s Gets Expensive When We Drink Too Much
Let’s pretend you’re mine; mind, body, & soul.
That we don’t need the liquor in order to get
a better feel for each other. That I’m all you
want and you won’t need another
because I’m your only lover.
Yeah let’s pretend you’re satisfied with
my body. With all these scars running
down my back, spilling off my spine
like the sea. That you sink all the way
through my skin, flesh, blood, & bones.
That you gave your whole heart to me
without asking anything in return
because you believed in love.
Let’s pretend you believe in love but
you don’t. You’re not mine &
we’ll always need the liquor
to feel fine.
First published with Bank Heavy Press in their Pom-Pom-Pom-Pom-Pomeranian issue, 2012
that evening I had whiskey
propped myself up against a fence
looked out west to the sea
drank a toast with midsummer…
…it took a long and spectacular time
you pass by in segments: chunks of an orange
dainty pieces of clementine: irresistible oh my darling
I tried to love you but you left me behind
going off on your straight lines
your constant lapses
the collapse of circumstance
you sang me flowers-don’t-last-so-long-in-a-vase
I just wanted to live in the moment
but you said the little bleeders won’t keep still
you were right
it doesn’t matter what you do…
I told you
listen to a dawn chorus or the rain on the roof
some days can be holy
the trees flicker with presence
it seems ever living: deathless
if it was, would they be the beatitudes you hold them?
The sun’s fire sinks gently into the sea…slowly it fades
an angel’s trumpet, a bleeding heart
or belladonna …
from the author’s chapbook Beatitudes, Blue Salt Publishing, 2007
Hang it all, Stephen Hawking
So time is after all
and life’s mystery
is a duration:
can it mean
sing the millennium?
Appeared as a banner display during the Millennium celebrations in Totnes, Devon